Panasonic Reacts to Controversy Concerning Its Lumix S9 Event

A blue Lumix camera is centered against a backdrop of dark, stormy clouds. The camera lens is prominently displayed, and the brand name "Lumix" is clearly visible above the lens. The overall mood is dramatic, highlighting the camera's sleek design.

Panasonic is facing significant criticism concerning its recent Lumix S9 event in Osaka, Japan. The company hosted a live stream today and addressed the controversy, at least in general terms.

The situation kicked off when YouTube tech reviewer Gerald Undone, who has reviewed numerous Panasonic Lumix cameras over the years, published a video alleging that Panasonic did not invite him to Osaka in part because of criticisms he has levied against Panasonic’s cameras.

Gerald Undone claims that in response to his calling the original S5 “strange,” he was not invited to Japan for the S5II event. Within that context of alleged punishment for criticism, he claims that the Lumix team called him ahead of the S9 event in Japan and told him he wouldn’t be invited because Panasonic didn’t think he would like the camera and that he wasn’t the target audience.

It’s a serious allegation because the idea that an established technology reviewer could be excluded from testing a camera because of prior critical reviews or because a company didn’t think they were the right audience is of concern not just to any particular YouTube channel but to all members of the media, be they influencers, reviewers, or journalists. Gerald Undone’s video has struck a nerve with many online, racking up nearly 150,000 views and almost 2,600 comments, many of which are slight variations of the sentiment that many reviewers cannot be trusted.

In its live stream on the Lumix USA YouTube channel this afternoon, Panasonic’s Sean Robinson addressed the ongoing controversy. While Robinson was relatively vague and didn’t specifically say he was referring to Gerald Undone, there’s little doubt who he was talking about when referring to the “recent commentary that’s been on YouTube.”

Robinson says he was “personally tasked with the responsibility to extend invitations to all the creators, the YouTube channels, the reviewers that were part of North America,” which includes Gerald Undone.

“I just want to say apparently my invite wasn’t really clearly received by everyone that I spoke to,” Robinson says in about as strong of a rebuttal as can be expected. “In general, across the board, our brand has always been looking for honest, non-biased feedback on the products.”

“I think that’s kind of what you see here with Lumix Live. This is how we evolve. It’s better to serve the actual community and growing and just make everything better as we move forward. The individuals that all attended the S9 event have worked incredibly hard on their own channels to build trust, to build a reputation among their followers… And that’s the exact reason why we extend invitations out to those people.”

Robinson describes events like the recent S9 launch event in Osaka as “celebrations of the thousands and thousands of hours that go into product development,” and says that Panasonic is “always excited to see that first reaction from photographers, videographers, YouTubers, creators in general, and to get their feedback, whether that’s positive or negative. It’s the biggest thing that we value in working with everybody, in inviting people, in talking to everybody.”

Chris Niccolls and Jordan Drake were at the Panasonic Lumix event in Osaka, so Gerald Undone’s statements concerning the ability for people to be objective while at a company-hosted event are of particular interest to PetaPixel‘s staff. Accordingly, Gerald Undone’s video is the primary topic of discussion in this week’s PetaPixel Podcast, which was recorded earlier today and will be published tomorrow.

Between Gerald Undone’s video, which paints Panasonic in a bad light and calls for a fundamental change to how camera reviews are done in general, and Panasonic using stock photos in its Japanese S9 marketing, the company is certainly having a tough time.

Image credits: Header photo created using an image licensed via Depositphotos.